Before you start searching for a home it's best to get pre-approved. I will not work with a buyer that will not or can not obtain the financing. Buyers that are pre-approved are in a better position to negotiate with the seller and get the best possible price and terms.
As a buyer you can also obtain a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus and review the information. You will be well informed, you can dispute any errors and you can inform your lender of blemishes at the start.
Another recommendation, if you are going to shop rates, let your lender know up front. Tell them that you will be shopping and that you are not totally sure that you will be using them. When you do this you are avoiding burning any bridges for future financing, you are also letting them know that they should be giving you the best possible that they can offer, and you are stopping them from spending their time processing your loan when indeed you may not need their services.
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